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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  July 9, 2013 5:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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law should be permanently delayed for all americans in order to avoid significant economic harm to american families. in response to questions about the administration's decision, the president's senior advisor, val i will jarrett, said -- and i quote -- valerie jarret said -- and i quote -- "we are listening." while referring to the concerns of the business community over the onerous employer mandate that will result in fewer jobs and employees working fewer hours. we've been listening as well, and as more employers have attempted to understand the burdensome requirements in the president's health care law, the louder their outrain outrage ha. in particular, small- to medium-sized businesses are simply drowning, drowning in their efforts to understand all the regulations. we're also listening to the views of the american people. a recent gallup poll from this week show that a majority of americans still disapprove of the health care law. the survey showed that 55% of
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respondents disapprove of obamacare. a gallup survey last month revealed that for every one person who believes they will be better off under obamacare, two believe they will be worse off. opposition to the health care law is growing, and it will continue to grow as more americans realize that the law is built upon broken promises and will result in higher health care costs and more taxes. under the individual mandate, the i.r.s. which is still under multiple investigations for unfairly targeting conservative groups will play a central role in the implementation of the health care law in our country. last fall, the congressional budget office estimated that nearly six million americans, primarily in the middle class, will have to pay a tax under the individual mandate, which is two million more than was initially estimated. when the affordable care act is fully implemented, the average individual mandate tax will be nearly $1,200, which clearly,
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clearly contradicts the president's previous statement that the individual mandate is -- quote -- "absolutely not a tax increase." end quote. further, families are facing significant increases in premiums. "the wall street journal" recently published animals of premiums that concluded that under the health care law, some americans will see their premiums double or even triple, which is the opposite of the promise that was made by the president that premiums would go down by $2,500 for american families. given the widely held belief by the american people that the affordable care act will not fulfill its promises, it will result in higher costs for american families, i believe this law should be permanently delayed. this law is unworkable, harmful to the economy and to american families, and actions to delay the employer mandate is an acknowledgment of this very fact. public opinion about the affordable care act has been consistently low. perhaps americans don't like it
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because it's affecting their jobs. four in ten small business owners say they have held back on hiring, and one in five owners say they have let employees go due to the health care costs associated with the affordable care act. as implementation of the law continues, the number of small business owners who take these steps could increase. employers are also cutting back on hours in anticipation of the mandate. even though enforcement of the employer mandate may be delayed, employers still know this is coming down the pike and will continue to make adjustments to their work force in anticipation of the new mandates. a new mandate will also be imposed on individual americans. on january 1, americans will be forced by their government to buy a product of health insurance for the first time ever. this mandate will be enforced by tax penalties administered through the internal revenue service i.r.s. the obama administration has requested over $400 million in funding and nearly 2,000 bureaucrats for the i.r.s. to implement the individual mandate
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and 46 other statutory provisions. the blizzard of obamacare rules and regulations continues. regulators have now written over 20,000 pages of obamacare-related rules and notices in the federal register. in just this last week, another 606 pages of new regulations were released that were designed to assist in implementing this massive law. it's no wonder the public outcry from employers was so loudly opposed to the employer mandate. american families are also struggling to understand how this complex, burdensome law will affect them. it is critical that the president and his administration listen to the american people and permanently delay this law. and i would add, madam president, if you look at the impact on the economy, not only is this about higher premiums for middle-class families in this country, not only is it about higher taxes that are going to be imposed upon medical
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device manufacturers, on health insurance plans, pharmaceutical companies, all of which, by the way, will be passed on to individual consumers, it's also about the impact this will have on jobs and the economy. if you look at just the numbers that came out last week and what they said about the impact of policies coming out of washington, d.c., and the impact that they are having on jobs in this country, the number of people working part time for economic reasons, sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers, increased by 322,000 people to 8.2 million total people in the month of june. these are people who are working part time because their hours have been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. the real employment rate or what we call the u-6 rate is 14.3% for june of 2013, which is an increase of a half percentage point over the previous month. that's the total percentage of
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unemployed and underemployed workers. making the real number of unemployed americans in this country 22.6 million people. these are people who are unemployed, want work but have stopped searching for a job or are working part time simply because they can't find full-time employment. and i would add, madam president, that when policies coming out of washington that are i think very exemplified by the obamacare mandates are imposed on the american economy, it makes it harder for job creators and employers in this country to create the jobs that are necessary to affect these numbers in a positive way, to get americans back to work, back to work in a full-time way and back to work in a way where they are actually creasing their take-home pay rather than having it decreased by higher costs for everything that they have to spend their incomes on, including the cost of health insurance coverage. you know, we have been saying for a long time, and there are studies after study that come out that talk about how the
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health care law is going to cause health insurance premiums to rise, and there has been a lot of people who have gotten up here in the senate, others in the administration in an attempt to defend the obamacare law who have said oh, no, that's not going to be the case, it's actually going to drive premiums down, and we continue to hear that, as more and more evidence comes in, not only studies that are being done out there but real-life examples of the impact that this law is having on insurance premiums. in fact, there are actuarial studies that have estimated premiums in various states around the country, and what the impact on premiums would be. state of colorado, in the individual market, the estimate is by the actuaries that the insurance premium rates are going to go up by 19%. state of indiana by 95%. and the individual market by 10% and the small group market. state of maine, estimates are that the individual market premiums are going to go up by 40%, 9% in the small group market. state of minnesota, the
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individual market 42% increase in premiums in the individual market, and 20% in the small group market. state of wisconsin, 30%, madam president, in the individual market increase. the state of ohio, last month department of insurance announced that the average individual market health insurance premium in 2014 will cost 88% more. according to ohio insurance regulators, the department's initial aly the proposed rates show consumers will have fewer choices and pay much higher premiums for the health insurance starting in the year 2014. well, it should -- shouldn't be any big surprise, madam president, when you look at the requirements in the new health care law. the new health care law said that there are certain -- you have to have a certain kind of coverage. you can't continue to offer coverages that are available to people who might want to have different choices about what types of things they want covered, what they want their
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co-pays or deductibles to be. basically they said if you are going to offer a plan, you have to offer this plan. it's a government-approved plan. they have to have these sorts of coverages and these sorts of things and bells and whistles in it. it also said that you can get insurance after you sick. it's called guarantee issue. no longer do you have to -- is there any requirement that you have to go out and get insurance to protect yourself and prevent yourself from having to be in that situation when illness strikes. now if you get something, you get sick, then you go out and buy insurance. it also requires community rating, which changes the way in which health care costs are distributed across the range of people that are covered by health care premiums in this country, making it more expensive for younger people to get their health insurance coverage, and that's why you are seeing the steep increases in the individual market. and so, madam president, when you look at all the -- madam president, i would ask unanimous consent to be able to continue for a couple of minutes.
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the presiding officer: two minutes. good. mr. thune: so when we look at all the mandates, the new requirements in the legislation, the new taxes in the legislation, when you look at all the states that are trying to deal with and cope with this, all the small businesses and the small businesses obviously weighed in heavily, and that's why as i mentioned earlier, the white house says we're listening, we got the messages, they waive this, they delay this at least for a year for the small businesses under the employer mandate, all we're simply saying is look, there are lots of problems associated with this law. this was a bad law. it is based upon prone promises. it promised lower premiums. we're seeing higher premiums. it includes higher taxes. you're going to see effects all across the economy when it comes to jobs as people cut back and start forcing people into part-time jobs so they are not hit with the employer mandates under this legislation. so it affects jobs, it affects economy, we have a sluggish economic growth rate, it's now been adjusted down to 1.8% in
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the last quarter. we continue to sort of muddle along. and one of the reasons for that, madam president, is because we here in washington, d.c., continue to pile more and more costs on the -- on employers trying to do business in this country. until we understand that if we're going to create jobs and grow the economy in this country, we have got to make it less difficult and less expensive for employers and job creators to create jobs, we're going to continue to see this trend in the future. and so i would simply say that -- to my colleagues here in the senate and to the administration that if you are going to delay implementation of the employer mandate for a year, let's employ -- delay the individual mandate as well, and let's not just do it for a year. let's permanently delay this. let's start over. let's do this the right way, in a way that actually reduces premiums and health care costs for people in this country, that makes it less expensive and less difficult for small businesses to create jobs and to grow the economy and to get americans back to work in good jobs that pay well, that increase the take-home pay so they can
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provide in a better way for their families. madam president, with that, i yield the floor. mr. manchin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: madam president, i want to speak a little bit in detail on another projection or another direction we have on the student loan crisis, i guess. and it's a shame that we have come to this. a year ago, i voted for the extension. we were told at that time that because of the political atmosphere we had, an election of the president, big election year coming up, that we really couldn't get into the details and fix it the way it maybe needs to be fixed and should have been fixed back then. so a lot of us went ahead and voted for the extension, and we find ourselves in the same position this year as we were last year, and there will be another election in 2014, so it seems like we're always in an election cycle, and if we allow
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that to continue to direct what we do and how we do it, we can get little done here, which is what i think the public is getting frustrated with. so a few of us got together, myself and senator alexander, we got senator carper, senator king, and decided that maybe we could come together and maybe work on something. there is no perfect fixes for anything here that i have found, and this is such a complicated and very confuseing to a lot of people if you don't delve in into it. so i started looking into it more this year than i have before. i think a lot of colleagues believe that the so-called doubling of the rates, that went from 3.4% to 6.8%, that everybody's rates had doubled. first of all, there are a small percentage of the loans that we loan out were even getting the advantage of 3.4% that we extended. 75% of the loans -- 75% of the money out there is at the higher rate of 6.8% or above.
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and i tried to understand the best i could all different aspects of the loans out there. we have the subsidized loans, because of family income and participation, you are able to get a subsidized loan. what that really means -- and i think if you break it down, the first year that you qualify for a subsidized loan, you can borrow up to $3,500. now, $3,500 in today's higher education world doesn't go very far. you're also allowed to borrow $2,000 of unsubsidized. that means you would have been paying 3.4% on the $3,500, 6.8% on the unsubsidized. so as you can see, it's not all clear cut. so then on the second year, you can borrow $4,500 subsidized and $2,000 unsubsidized. it goes to $5,500 and it stays at $5,500 your fourth year. the thing that happens is the unsubsidized loans, if you're looking at unsubsidized loans,
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at 6.8% they are staying. we have had some say it's better to leave it alone, do nothing, let it go ahead and double at 6.8% and leave it where it is. we have along the lines of a proposal by the president. also we have had the so-called house republican proposal. our proposal is much different. this is not a republican piece of legislation or a democrat. it's a bipartisan piece that we've looked at all aspects of what we have to deal with in today's market, july 1 is when the rates went up, if we're able to come to agreement this week or maybe the first of next week, we can retroactively bring those back so when you go to school this fall, you'll know exactly what your rates are being. we come to where we've had a bipartisan agreement that those rates could be 3.66% and that's for all undergraduates. so if you're getting a subsidized loan and you're getting an unsubsides loan --
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unsubsidized loan, it's 3.4% and 6.8. under our proposal, everything is 3.66%. that will save about $9 billion this year and interest you would be responsible for paying. $9 billion for the youth of this country trying to get a higher education. if we just do the one-year extension which my colleagues on my side of the aisle, the democrats' side of the aisle, that's only a savings of $2 billion. versus $7 billion savings up and beyond what the one-year extension would do. we're dealing with the facts we have in front of us here. so we keep looking at all the different things and people are talking about that. let's say you're going to a graduate, unsubsidized stafford loan. which many people get in graduate school. right now a graduate at 6.8%. under our proposal that goes to 5.21%. if you have the plus loan,
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that's parents and graduate students, that loan today you're paying 7.9% and you've been paying 7.9%. our bill takes that to 6.21%. and as you can see, the savings, someone says the interest rates will go up after three or four years. and then you'll be at a higher rate. we put also the same as in the law right now, 8.25% cap. any time your rates, you lock this rate in, you borrow money this year at 3.66%, that's locked in for the life of the loan. that's what you pay for the money you borrowed this year for the life of that loan until you pay it back. next year it could be 4.5%. it could go up. you can have inflation. when i was in school and later on inflation kicked up, 16%, 17%, outrageous. what we've been able to come to agreement with in this body in the senate, republicans and democrats, have come to an agreement that we don't think at
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all the policy of this country should be that we should make a profit on the loans to students -- that students are receiving to educate themselves. to have a better quality of life and opportunity. that's not the bill we got from the house. they wanted to use profits to pay down debt. i understand there's a lot more to be done on the profit end and how we get to the true profit and true cost and, madam president, you've been working hard on that and i'm willing to work with you very hard on that. what we have in front of us today, we've come to that agreement we're not going to make any profit that will go to debt reduction. the profit basically if there is a so-called profit it would reduce the rate and give you the lowest rate we possibly can offer. we've grate gread on fixing the rates for the life of the loan. that's not what came from the house. when i say it's a bipartisan bill, these are things we're agreeing on that makes a better piece of legislation that we have. there's people saying but four years it might go higher than
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that, than 6.8%. let me say that three to four years we know we'll have tremendous savings saition, there's a difference, there is a difference of $36 billion versus maybe $8 billion if you just keep extending one year at a time. $2 billion savings here, $9 billion savings here. four niens is 36, four twos is eight. it's not hard to do the math here. and talk about a comprehensive education bill, i pray to god that we can get a comprehensive education bill. but i'm not sure that the american public believes that we're able to get any consensus on any comprehensive bill. we haven't as of yet. i've been here when i first got here they told me that, you know, trying to get our house in order, financial house and then we had the sequester coming at us. an the sequester was a penalty we voted on because no one would ever think we would let it get that draconian to the point we couldn't come to an agreement and we'd have to have this type of a punishment put on
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ourselves. we thought that would happen. so we put a super committee together, the super committee was put together for a purpose of basically getting a superdeal to get our financial house in order. it wasn't that super. it didn't work. so then the sequester kicks in. and the draconian cuts across the board. you don't run your life that way, don't run your businesses that way, small or large. you don't cut everything. you have your basically your priorities and necessities you have to maintain in your life on a daily basis, you have excesses you can do without. you make adjustments and you pick and choose. that's not working right now and what's happening is people are suffering needlessly because we cannot come to an agreement to get our financial house, to find a budget that works for this country, to find a tax system that's fair and equitable that people believe in. we haven't been able to do that. but we're being told let's go ahead and extend the 3.4% for
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the smallest portion of the amount of loans that we loan out and everyone else pay the higher rate. i'm not willing to do that. i think we can do better. i think we are better than that on both sides of the aisle. and chastising each other and saying one's -- wants to raise rates and one is insensitive toward students and it's a republican or democrat plan doesn't fix anything around here. it hasn't since i've been here and i don't think it's going to. it will if we put our country the first. if we put our country first, we put the students first. without an educated populace, we can't compete in the world of science and technology. we just can't. so the best investment we can make is in our youth. the best investment you can make, the best investment you can make is in education. you might buy a car and think that's a great investment. you might buy a piece of property that's a great investment or a house. the best investment you'll ever make is in your education.
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we want to make it as affordable and doable as humanly possible. and that's what we've worked together. we've worked together with myself and my colleagues on a bipartisan basis, we're hoping we can find and if we can find common ground and if it basically is putting a cap and we've talked about a cap, the caps are inherently built in. let's say this. let's say that you graduate and get a degree but you find a job that pays $40,000 which is not a lot in today's market for the money you've invested. and you get married and have a child or two. the system we have in right now you only pay 15% of our disposable income. that breaks down to about $142 a month you will pay on your student loan. to make it affordable. and if you're not unable to pay that off at the end of 25 years it's exxon rated and wiped out. pell grants i don't need to tell you about a pell grant, if a person is in comeed knead because of income they get up to
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$5,645 a year free. those are grants we give out, pell grants which are excellent, helping students that don't have an opportunity or chance with any support from their family to be able to go to higher education. we do that. and we're doing an awful lot of things we do to help but the bottom line is we've come to an agreement it shouldn't be subsidized and shouldn't be a profit made and should be affordable and has to be run efficiently. i would hope people would look. i think the $36 billion of savings over four years is pretty substantial. compared to us doing nothing and saying to leave the rates, let them go at 6.8%, it's better off, i think it's misinformed. i don't think they've been told the facts or the truth. what we're asking for is basically a level playing field, getting more groups to sit down sincerely and working towards what hi going to be a good outcome, a good process here.
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extend wag we have doesn't work, not being able to come together to make sure our loans are affordable is not acceptable and i think if we continue to strive to work towards finding a reasonable outcome we'll be able to succeed. with that i said tomorrow we'll have a vote on this and more discussions about student loans. the bottom line is that we want rates to come down for everybody. every student in every category should have the benefit of a lower rate with a lower rates that are available to the public today. so with that, madam president, i yield the floor.
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, madam president. are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: no, the senate is not in a quorum call. mr. blumenthal: thank you, madam president. madam president, over this past week i had the opportunity to visit with many students, many
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faculty and staff of our colleges, both private and public, all around the state of connecticut. and what i found -- and i know the presiding officer has led very strongly and courageously in this effort, so i am not telling her anything she doesn't know -- that the students and teachers of connecticut and the country absolutely understand how destructive and lastingly harmful this doubling of interest rates will be for young people and really people of all ages in america. never before has higher education meant more to earning potential and to employment now and in the future, never before have the faculty and staff and students of america been more united in understanding how
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critical higher education is not only to them but to our economy because our students are the ones who will buy homes, build families, start businesses, contribute to our economy, and they will do more to give back and contribute if they have the great advantages of higher education, spared from the financially crippling debt that threatens them now. in fact, it is a reality, that financially crippling debt, for more than 73,000 people who owe an average of $29,000 in connecticut alone. and that debt is a burden for our entire economy as much or more as it is for those individuals. so there is a strong societal and national interest in this
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issue. i didn't need to tell the students of connecticut what the consequences are of the doubling of interest rates, and i didn't need to tell them what it would mean for their futures. they told me. they told me at middlesex community college where i spoke to the community college sector and i discussed the issue of the president of that college, anna washessa along with public assistants and student and financial aid people. they told me at northern connecticut community college where i spoke with the president, barbara douglas, and individuals there, students and faculty who noted to me that 51% of their students receive some kind of financial aid, including stafford loans. and i spoke to students and
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faculty all around connecticut, like sam cheney, who is a 2010 graduate of quinnipiac. he said to me when students graduate -- quote -- "you're not just paying rent. you're paying as much or more in student loans. i hope they're not in the position i was in, being told not to worry about the sticker price of college." i heard from irene mulvey, president of the connecticut chapter of the american association of university professors. her organization is constantly in touch with student borrowers and knows just how much subsidized stafford loans mean to them. as she said to me -- quote -- "as faculty members, we see the impact that student loan debt has on our students and their families every day." end quote. and she called this doubling of
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interest rates indefensible. and she's correct. it is indefensible, unconscionable, unacceptable. even at 3.4%, as the presiding officer well knows, our federal government profits from the student loan program. it profits in the amount of $51 billion a year, doubling the interest rates simply means more profits for the federal government. there is a fundamental principle at stake, and that is whether our nation is going to continue profiting from student loans which should be regarded not as a benefit to the students, but an investment in our nation. not as a charitable program but as a vital investment in the
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skills and talents and the major resource that our invention has as a free and democratic society. the talents and skills of our people. and freedom from debt, student debt, should be a fundamental national interest, as important as any that this body addresses. and as vital to the future of the country as our national defense. i didn't need to tell the students of connecticut what this doubling of interest rates would mean to them. $31 a month, $1,000 a year. they know. they do the math. they get it better than people in this chamber or in the house of representatives do. and they told me what $1,000 would mean to them.
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elizabeth comasko: textbooks and start saving for my very own car. gina: i would use $1,000 to pay for books. don't double my rate. across connecticut, students are telling us don't double my rate. now, i didn't need to tell them as well that there are a lot of borrowers in this country who get a pretty good rate, a lot better than 3.4%. in fact, those borrowers are the biggest financial institutions, the big banks who borrow from the federal reserve at a discount window at less than 1%, .75% often. and they are angry about it that they are worth less in these financial markets, in the view of our federal government that loans money, than the big banks
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and big institutions that in fact are sometimes regarded as too big to fail. students are failing to pay back those debts, but the nation is failing our students. and it's failing itself because our national interest is in our student loans and the talents and skills and opportunities that it provides not just in the next year or couple of years, but for a lifetime and for the long term of our nation. so i am a proud supporter of the bank on student loan fairness act which would give them the same kind of equivalent fairness that our big banks enjoy when they borrow from the federal reserve. but in the meantime, we need a solution for this next year, and it is the keep student loan
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affordable act. it is a remedy of short duration, i hope, that will in the end be accompanied and followed by longer-term reforms that will give students the benefit of those lower rates, lower even than 3.4%. so our federal government ceases to use students as a profit center and ceases to take advantage of them. i am not against smart cuts to reduce our debt and our deficit. these kinds of burdens on students, using them as a deficit solution, is not a smart cut, and that is an understatement. in the long term, we thaoed to reduce -- we need to reduce the cost of higher education which has increased over the last few
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decades by 1,000 percent. that's the result of year after year overinflationary increases in tuition which over time have amounted to make a college degree unaffordable to all but the most well off unless they use that kind of financially crippling debt to attend. the age of supporting one's self through a four-year college degree is passed for most. this unfortunate trend has been coupled with more and more employers requiring a graduate degree for even consideration in the hiring pool. and so, the doubling of interest rates is indeed indefensible, as irene mulvey. it is indeed unacceptable in the greatest nation in the history of the world which must continue
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the quality and affordability of higher education if we are to remain the greatest nation in the history of the world. i hope that my colleagues will join the members of this senate who have supported the keep student loan affordable act and will support a reasonable measure keeping these rates at 3.4% to allow variable rates and in effect teaser loan levels that can rise beyond affordability, without caps, without protection, is in fact against the national interest. and this measure will help us keep students in school and spare them the kind of financially crippling debt that all too many of our young people have when they leave college. thank you, madam president.
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i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. whitehouse: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: madam president, may i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be lifted? the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: and that i be allowed to speak as if in morning business for up to, say, 20 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you, madam president.
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i'm here for my 38th weekly time to wake up speech, and today i want to ask the question: what if? what if? what if climate change is real? what if the 30-plus giga tons of carbon pollution mankind is dumping into the atmosphere every year makes a difference? what if it's warming up the planet and changing the weather? what if it's warming up the seas and raising their level and making them more acidic? what then? what if this is serious? what if this is serious and we're not? what if this is serious and
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we're sleepwalking when we should be awake? what if this is deadly serious and we are reckless when we should be responsible? what if we are completely missing this moment in history? winston churchill talked about sharp agate points upon which destiny turns. what if our destiny will turn based upon what we do about carbon? what if we've been warned? what if we have been thoroughly and convincingly and reliably warned? what if we have been warned by virtually every climate scientist, at least 95% of them? by the scientists who work for
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the united states of america, it the national oceanic and atmospheric administration, the national aeronautics and space administration, by the vast majority of scientific societies such as the american association for the advancement of science, the american geophysical union and the american meteorological society, among others. i ask unanimous consent to have a letter from a great number of those associations added at the conclusion of my remarks as an exhibit. what if we have been thoroughly convincingly and reliably warned by thorough, convincing and reliable scientists and chosen instead to listen to the critics and the polluters? let's play this out a bit. foresight is supposed to be a capability of our species. what if it turns out the world will care about this?
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we americans have held ourselves out as a beacon of light to other nations. we've proclaimed we are a shining city on a hill. what if that's true? what if president clinton was right that the power of our american example is indeed greater than any example of our power? what if daniel webster was right that if the example of our great democratic experiment ever became an argument against that experiment, it would sound the knell of popular liberty throughout the world? what if our political and moral failure to address carbon pollution became in fact an argument against our american example? an argument against our american
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example punctuated by the ex-clam medication points -- exclaimation points of local climate change happening right there in towns and barrios, hills and hamlets, on coasts and farms all around the world? what if the world takes notice of that? what if the world takes notice of what is already happening all around them and takes notice of how we blew it at dealing with carbon pollution? and as a result, turns away from our great american experiment because of this conspicuous and consequential failure of american democratic governance and leadership. let's really push it here. what if abraham lincoln was right, was not just making it up
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when he said america was the last best hope of earth. the last best hope of earth. he wasn't alone. thomas jefferson too in his first inaugural said "this american government was the world's best hope." what if we are indeed the last best hope of earth, a hope which it is up to each american generation to, as lincoln said, nobly save or meanly lose? what if we in this generation of americans meanly lose, meanly lose such a measure of that american light and hope in the world? what if we, the children of the
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greatest generation, were to blunder into history as the vilest generation because we failed so badly at this plain and present duty? in sum, madam president, what if the deniers, the mockers and the scoffers are wrong? what if they're wrong? someone has to be. there are two sides to this. what if it's the deniers and the scoffers and the mockers who are wrong? what if the evidence keeps piling up and the tide of a public opinion keeps going out and the deniers are left stranded with their inadequacies plainly visible? and, please, let's look at the two sides. on the side of waking up and
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doing something about carbon pollution, the president of the united states of america, the joint chiefs of staff and our military leaders, the united states conference of catholic bishops, the national council of the churches of christ, and many faith groups and leaders, icons of our american corporate community -- g.m. and ford, coke and pepsi, nike, apple and wal-mart, and hundreds of others -- the property casualty insurance and reinsurance industry, and many in the electric utility industry, the vast majority of national scientific societies, in particular i'd like to mention the scientists at nasa who right now are driving an s.u.v.-sized rover around on the surface of mars. that might be an organization
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whose scientists actually know what they're talking about. and what if it turns out that the other side of the argument is actually phony? what if it turns out that the other side of the argument is a few cranks, a lot people and organizations on the payroll of the polluters and a cynical propaganda campaign intended to mislead and deceive? what if it's the argument that climate change is a hoax -- which we hear around here -- what if it's that argument that is the real observatio real hoax? what is that so-called climate-gate scandal was no fraud at all? the whipped-up allegations were the fraud?
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so-called climate-gate was really climate-gate gate. what if that cynical, polluter-driven propaganda campaign is one of the biggest and most successful frauds ever perpetrated on the public? a fraud that when it is ultimately exposed for what it is will change the way we think about political information and trust in corporations. just as my generation seeing the cuyahoga river burn changed the way we thought about the environment. what if the great climate denial fraud will stand in the an annas of american scandals beside watergate and teapot dome and the corruption leading up to the
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great crash of 1929 -- as a dark smear across the pages of our american history? there was an iconic recruiting poster for world war i. i wish i had it with me but i don't. it's a picture of a fella sitting in his armchair with two little children and they're asking him, "daddy, what did you do in the great war?" and he's looking sadly out at the viewer of the poster because clearly he had not done his part in the great war. that was the message of that poster. "daddy, what did you do in the great war?" what if we have to be asked by our children and grandchildren when they are studying this disgraceful episode in their history classes, "mommy, what
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did you do in the great climate fraud?" "grandpa, what did you do in the great climate fraud?" why do i come every week to give these speeches? because these questions stick in my craw. these are the questions that haunt me and that i can't shake. and upon the answer to these questions, to these what-ifs, the future may depend. destiny may turn. now, i've asked them today as questions, but many of the answers are already clear. many of the answers are crystal clear. many of the answers are so likely clear that no rational person would bet against them. and many of the answers carry
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stakes so high that they cry out for prudent choices to be made. many of the answers are crystal clear, as clear as measurement. for at least 800,000 years, the concentration of carbon dioxide in earth's atmosphere held between 170 and 300 parts per million of carbon dioxide. 800,000 years always in that range. now it's 400 parts per million and climbing. that's a measurement. oceans are already 30% more acidic than before the industrial revolution and getting more so. that's a measurement. the winter water temperature of narragansett bay has risen four degrees since the 1960's. that's a measurement.
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millions of acres of western pine forest, once protected by cold, have been ravaged by the pine beetle. that's a measurement. 13 of the past 15 years are among the hottest 15 years on record. that is a measurement. being against science is one thing. being against measurement -- that takes this to a new extreme. many of the answers are so likely clear that no rational, prudent person would bet against them. the principle that carbon dioxide and water vapor in the atmosphere create a greenhouse effect that warms the planet goes back to the time of the
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american civil war. it is firmly established scien science. as the head of the world bank recently said, "if you disagree with the science of human-caused climate change, you are not disagreeing that there is anthropogenic climate change. what you are disagreeing with is science itself." i submit that my denier colleagues in their own personal lives would never take the wild risks, the reckless risks they are asking us to take on carbon. if they went to 100 doctors and 95 or more of the doctors told them that their child or grandchild needed treatment and it was urgent, i doubt very much
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that they'd go with the three or four who didn't. in fact, it would probably be a matter for their state child welfare services if they ignored that kind of warning about the health of a child or a grandchild. but that is what they want us to do on carbon pollution. and many of the answers carry stakes so high that they plead for prudent and rational choic choices. the downside is so deep that the balance has to be towards precaution if we are, indeed, a rational species. we are talking about fundamental changes in the habitability of our planet. with considerable human dislocation and disorder a likely result.
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we are talking about measurements of basic planetary conditions veering outside the entirety of human experience to measurements whose antecedents are found only in geologic time. and which we find there in geologic time, in the geologic record associated with massive disruptions, upheavals and dieoffs. the facts are clearly measured. the principles are solid and sound and the stakes are very, very high. and yet we sleepwalk on the precipice, refusing to listen, refusing to speak of it, refusing to act when duty calls us to act.
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it's time to wake up. or perhaps i should say, what if? what if it really is time to wake up and we're just missing it, sleepwalking on the lip of the precipice, listening to the lullabies of the polluters and ignoring the facts and consequences that are plain to our sight and reason, plain in front of our faces? what then, madam president? i yield the floor. ms. stabenow: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: thank you, madam president. before my friend from rhode island leaves the floor, i want
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to thank him for coming to the floor of the senate every week to give a message that we need to hear all the time about a serious worldwide crisis. and i want to thank him for his passion and for calling on us to remember that when it is time for our children and grandchildren to ask where we were, i want to say i was with senator sheldon whitehouse and those of us who care deeply with solving this problem. so thank you very much. madam president, i want to thank all of our colleagues who have spoken on the issue of keeping student loan rates low, people who have come to the floor today. i know senator blumenthal was just here a few minutes ago and senator harkin, our chairman, and senator brown, senator sanders, senator reed, who's been such a passionate advocate
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and leader on this issue, our presiding officer from massachusetts for her passion in keeping us on point and all of those -- senator boxer, senator murray, others who have come to the floor, and senator kay hag hagan, who is leading this fight with senator jack reed and what we intend to do tomorrow, which is focus on a very, very simple issue which is let's not do harm to students as it relates to student loan rates going up while we fix the larger problem of the affordability of college. let's be very clear. the majority of the senate voted on june 6 to keep student loan rates at 3.4%. the majority. now, when we run for office, it's a -- you know, you get one more than the other person you and win the election. that's a majority. and so it's unfortunate that a majority could not have ruled
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here but because of the rules of the senate, because of the rights of the minority and the filibuster and so on, there have been objections from republican colleagues and so we've had to now go through this other process to overcome a filibust filibuster. we had the vote. the majority of the senate voted to keep rates low for students and let's make that very clear. so in order to overcome a republican filibuster, we need 60 votes to block that filibuster, and so tomorrow is about that vote. we all know that on july 1, the interest rates for students jumped from 3.4% to 6.8%. and let's all look at what's happening around in our communities with our families right now as well. keep in mind you can get a mortgage or a car loan for about 4%. so we're now seeing student loan
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interest rates higher than that, and under proposals that we have seen predominantly coming from the other side of the aisle that would have those rates go up and up based on the market, we could see those rates go to 7%, 8%, 9%, 10% in the future. it makes no sense. if you can get a car loan, if you can get a mortgage for about 4%, what about students? why are we now in a situation where college students are seeing their student interest rates and their student loans double, double or higher, which has been proposed by many in this body. and to add insult to injury, if we don't fix this, the federal government will start to gain
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huge profits, as our presiding officer has reminded us over and over again. more than $50 billion just this year on the backs of students and families. so what we're looking at right now is billions of dollars in profits on the backs of students if the rate is doubled, and if it goes higher, if it goes to the 7% or 8% being talked about in the republican proposals or the 8.5% that was passed in the house, we're looking at over $100 billion, more than that, in profits by the federal government on the backs of students and families, right at a time when they are just trying to hold it together, they want to go to college, we want them to go to college, we want them to get education, we benefit as a country, making sure we can outcompete, out outdo the
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competition around the world. yet those who say they care about students are proposing options that would increase costs for students and profits for the federal government. we should not be making profits on the backs of students who are trying to go to college. so our proposal that we will be voting on tomorrow would lock in the 3.4% interest rate on student loans to make sure that students and families can afford to go to college. and i'd like to share a couple of e.m.s. i have received out of thousands, and i want to thank students and families all across michigan who have engaged in this effort, who have gone to don't double my rate to get information and tell their story, have come to my facebook page, have called us and emailed us to tell us how this impacts them. but corey, a student right now at central michigan university in mount pleasant, michigan, wrote to me about this issue and
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said i'm asking you to please not allow my student loan rates to double. i'm a hardworking and respectful student. i make all my payments. i go to class, and i do well. i work hard and am grateful for the chance to get a higher education. but if student loan rates go up, i would be left to make a decision whether or not school would be affordable, whether or not school would be affordable. that's what this issue comes down to. if we don't fix this and fix it in a responsible way that keeps costs low, students like corey and seven million students across our country will have to rethink their college plans. this issue should not be professorly, madam president. this is not a partisan issue. if i were to pick a partisan issue on the floor of the senate, it would not be student loan interest rates and the
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costs of college. i would think this is one of the areas that we could come together on and just last year we kept the interest rate low, we passed for a year an extension of the 3.4%. it was good enough to do last year. i don't know why we can't keep that going while we tackle the long-term solutions. this should not be partisan. i know there are people of goodwill on both sides of the aisle trying to figure out something, but unfortunately because of the desire of the other side of the aisle and the desire of the house to have this market based and float with the marketplace and go up with market interest rates, we find ourselves in a situation where it's even worse to pass one of the proposals that have been made rather than just allow the rates to go back up to the fixed rate of 6.8%, which is really crazy. republicans and what we see in
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the house of representatives are caps at 8.5% and 10.5%. now, again, remember, right now, you can get a car loan, 15, 20 years, however long you finance your car, 10, 15, 20 years, 4%. 30-year mortgage, 3.5%, 4%, 5%, all less than what we're talking about for a student to be able to get a loan to be able to go to college, which we all say we want them to do. we are lending to banks at a much lower rate, as our presiding officer has reminded us over and over again. i do understand it's a 24-hour lending, it's a different story, but still if we can lend to banks at .75% and we can't even fix a rate of 3.4% for students when we have a tremendous stake
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in their willingness to go to school and work hard and be successful. so under the plans that we are seeing on the other side of the aisle and the plan that we have seen in the house of representatives, we would see rates go 7%, 8%, 9%, some of them tapped out at 10.5%, 10.5%. it makes no sense. corey from central continues with his email. from the time we first start learning, we are encouraged to attend college and get a good job so that when we can -- so that we can be a part of helping this country grow. i'm simply asking you to help continue to make this an affordable option for me and many others like me. our country will not grow without a strong middle class, and we won't have a middle class if people can't get an
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education, get the skills they need, go to college, dream big dreams and know that they can be successful in attaining those dreams. we are saying that we need to do everything possible to make sure that students can afford to go to college and that they don't come out with $20,000, $30,000, $50,000 -- i talk to medical students coming out with $100,000, $150,000. you could buy a house for that. and then rather than making a decision maybe to go into primary care where we certainly need doctors, they have to decide to go into a specialty because they have to pay off their student loans. there are stories like that all across our country, judgments being made. and so i have a very different view in terms of how we go about
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this, not just in the short run but what we lock in for the long term, and the proposals on the other side lock in rates that will go up as interest rates go up. i don't think we should be doing that. here's another young people from matthew in royal oak. students are not asking for a bailout like the one that wall street got. students are not asking for a bailout like the one that wall street got. just an opportunity to obtain an affordable education so we can compete in a global economy. that's what we're talking about. corey and matthew and seven million other people. and let me conclude by saying that for me, this is very personal because i wouldn't have been able to go to college, i wouldn't have been able to be the first one to get a four-year college degree in my own family
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if people i didn't know in michigan, in washington, hadn't decided that an affordable education was an important thing to have. my dad was very ill when i was in high school. i had great grades but we didn't have very much money, and because of tuition and fees scholarship i received and student loans, i was able to go to college. i want to make sure that every young person who wants to go to college can do that and that whether we know them or not, we know their name, we know where they live, it doesn't matter. nobody knew this red-headed, freckle-faced kid from clare. yet, because somebody put a value on education and the importance to our country, i had the opportunities i have had in my life. i think that's what this vote is about. tomorrow's about keeping the
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rates low, giving us time to address the broader issues around affordability. there is a lot of work to do. we can do that on a bipartisan basis, but first we need to start by doing no harm, and that's the vote tomorrow, and i hope that we will see a yes vote on the keep student loans affordable act. thank you, madam president. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i wonder if i might ask through the chair the senator from michigan a question. i notice her chart on seven million students. i wonder which seven million students she is talking about. my understanding is that there are 11 million students who will take out new student loans this year, that two million of them are low-income students who get subsidized loans, and that the
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democratic senators senator's proposal would help those two million students by keeping the rate at 3.4% instead of 6.8%. so who are the seven million students that the senator from michigan is talking about? ms. stabenow: madam president, if i might respond, this number comes from the joint tax committee, so i would be happy to follow up with you on that, but that's where the number comes from. mr. alexander: i thank the senator from michigan. it could be my numbers are wrong, but i don't think they are. i think the seven million student figure is actually a very good billboard for why not to support the democratic proposal but to support the bipartisan proposal because what the senator from michigan's proposal will do is keep rates high for seven million middle-class students who her proposal doesn't help. there are 11 million students
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across this country who are going to college this fall. they will take 18 million loans out. they will borrow $100 billion. what has happened in june, july 1, was the rate went back up to 6.8% for the loans that are for the lower income students. only those. the loans that go to the middle-class students -- and my understanding is there are about seven million of those -- stays right where it is, 6.8%. now, under the bipartisan proposal, their rates would be 3.66%. in other words, the bipartisan proposal would not only create a permanent solution but it would lower rates, it would lower rates almost in half for the seven million middle income students who otherwise would be twisting in the wind for the next ten years, paying higher
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rates, hundreds of millions of dollars of higher rates. so the number seven million i believe is correct, i would say to the senator from michigan, but those are the number of middle-class students who are going to be paying higher interest rates under her proposal, and i'm glad she brought the number up. and if i'm mistaken about that, i need to know it before tomorrow's vote, because my understanding is that there are two million students with subsidized loans. that's who the senator seeks to help. there are seven million students who are undergraduates who have loans that are unsubsidized. those are middle-income undergraduates. they are going to be paying 6.8% under the senator's proposal, they are going to be paying 3.66 perfects under the bipartisan proposal. ms. stabenow: would my friend from tennessee yield for a question? mr. alexander: i would be happy to. ms. stabenow: first, in terms of prefacing this of the numbers you asked about before, we will check. i know there are about 300,000 students in michigan affected,
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over 500,000 in california. that's almost one million. so the two million that you're talking about seems low if those two states together have about 850,000, but certainly we will check. we want to make sure the numbers are right. my question would be the number you quote as the interest rate in your proposal, is that a fixed rate or will that go up? mr. alexander: it's a fixed rate for the students who borrow the money this year. mr. stabenow: for next year? mr. alexander: well, if you're one of the say seven million -- if you're one of the -- one of the 11 million students who borrow money under the bipartisan proposal, let's say you're an undergraduate and that's two-thirds of the loans, your rate would be 3.66% this year and next year and the next ten years. next year it will be whatever it costs the government to borrow money and they will loan it to the student without charging --
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overcharging the student in order to reduce the debt, to pay for government programs for any other reason. so the formula would be that we wouldn't add any cost to the taxpayers but we wouldn't overcharge the students, say, to reduce the debt or to pay for a program. next year the interest rate might be higher. next year it might be higher but those would be for new loans and then, of course, there are already two caps in the law that would be continued under the bipartisan proposal. one says that any student at any time can consolidate his or her loan at 8.25%. so the loan can't go higher than that because the student could change it. the second says that while you're paying off your loan, it can't take more than about 10% of your income and if after 20 years or so you haven't paid off your loan, it's forgiven. those are two caps that are already in the law. ms. stabenow: if i might through the presiding officer ask, do i understand correctly, though,
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for a student next year that took out lien it might be higher, if a student took out lien in year three? it's my understanding over the next three or the four or five years, we're looking at rates at least of doubling if not more and you're saying cap it at 8.25%. that's a lot more than doubling of the rates that will happen right now. but is it accurate to say if the year in which you're taking out the loan depending on whether it's next year or the year after or the year after, that it would be in anticipation that the interest rate would rise? mr. alexander: i would say to the senator through the chair, she is correct, that the idea of this is instead of congress playing political fix-it during every election, we've turned this into sort of a doc fix where we are treating students the same way we treat doctors who serve medicare patients, we
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run in and have a big political fight about what we should be paying. instead of doing that we have a permanent solution that's based on what the market rate actually is. and we say whatever it costs the government, whatever it cost the taxpayers, we loan it to the students. at that level. and you're correct, if it costs the government more to borrow the money because the rates are higher that year, the rate will be higher that year. but there is the 8.25% cap. now, throughout the history of the student loan program there have been caps in the past. there was a 10% cap for about 15 years. there was a 9% cap for about 20 years. if the senator is suggesting there be a cap on the loan at a lower level than that, then she'll have to raise a lot of money because, for example, if we had a 6.8% cap on all loans, going forward, my guess would
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be that it would cost $50 billion, $60 billion over a ten-year period of time. i don't know where we'll get that money. so the president made the proposal that we have a permanent solution and he suggested that we take the amount of money that -- ask the congressional budget office. this isn't some republican or democratic figure. ask the congressional budget office, what does it cost to borrow the money and to make the loans? and let's then loan it to the students, let's don't overcharge them for any purpose, and that -- that's the proposal. and so my question would be, why would we do a short-term fix for one year that benefits 2% of the students and leaves seven million middle-income students twisting in the wind paying an interest rate that's nearly twice as much as they would pay under the bipartisan permanent solution that's based on the very same idea that the president proposed that the
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house of representatives has passed and that the bipartisan group here has proposed. so i think the more senators look into this and understand the cost of it, if they really agree, if they really agree that the goal is to say we don't want to add any cost to the taxpayers and we certainly don't want to overcharge the students on a loan, that they'll come out with something about like what the bipartisan proposal is and what the house passed and what the president proposed. if i could make one other comment, the senator from michigan was talking about large loans for students. i agree that's a problem. i'm a former university president, i'm a former education secretary. i've watched this for a long time. i think a lot of students are borrowing too much money. and that we need to think about ways to change that. right now, they're entitled to
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borrow a certain -- certain amounts, even if the college thinks it's unwise for them to do that. maybe we need to change that. maybe colleges need to have some skin in the game when they make a loan, whether they're a public or a profit -- nonprofit or a for-profit college. something we ought to look into. but what we're really debating this week is a simple question of what is a fair rate. what is a fair rate. and the bipartisan proposal is an eight-page bill that says let's take what it costs the government to borrow the money -- that's whatever the congressional budget office says it is -- let's loan it to the students without any profit, and let's have two caps on it going forward, one would be 8.25%, any student could consolidate lay ni loans at that level if it goes higher and the other would be a cap on how much you have to pay each year as you
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pay your loan back. so i hope my friends on the other side recognize that unless i'm mistaken, their proposal does help for one year two million low-income students who already have their interest paid by subsidy by the taxpayers, who also are eligible for the most part for pell grants. but it does nothing for seven million middle-income undergraduates whose rates on new loans will stay at 6.8% and the bipartisan proposal would lower those rates to nearly half that level. why would we leave those middle-income students, those seven million middle-income students twisting in the wind paying twice as much in interest rates as they need to pay? that's the question. and i hope after the vote tomorrow we can sit down and talk this through and come to a
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resolve. we shouldn't be having political gamesmanship about this. we're talking about 11 million families here, 18 million loans, $100 billion. we're talking about people making their plans to go to college, it's not easy to go. many senators have talked about that. people might have $100 billion in loans but they can't get it through the subsidized loan program, you can only get a few thousand dollars a year that way, maybe $23,000. we can look at that at some point. we need to pass this bill, set a rate that's fair to taxpayers and to the students and no need to deal with some of the loans, when we can lower rates for all of the loans. and put it on a permanent, fair basis, very much in the way the president recommended in his budget, very much in the way the house of representatives passed it, and very much in the way that the bipartisan group has suggested. i thank the president and i
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yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: first i'm going to be brief because things went a little longer. first, i have a great deal of respect for my good friend and he truly is my good friend, the senator from tennessee. and i understand what he's getting at and i certainly grate agree with one part of his proposal -- of his comments, that the unsubsidiesed and subsidized students should get good free trade treatment. we shouldn't aim at two million when there's seven million more. i'm on board with that. i make three points in reference to the bill and why i am a sponsor of the jack reed bill. first, the bottom line is, we here are in this mystical world of baselines. and under present law, the government actually makes about 1 -- $180 billion from students over the next ten years. it is not -- it is revenue
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neutral in the budgetary sense but not in the family sense. in the sense that families are actually going to end up paying more. now, my good friend from tennessee and they're budget hawks, they don't want to see that baseline changed. so they've come up with a fine proposal if you believe that you shouldn't change that baseline. but if you believe as i do that actually the government shouldn't be making extra money from the students as they pay, even if it means dipping into our federal accounts to make that happen, then it's not such a fine proposal. but let's not confuse budget neutrality with neutrality between what the government does and what students get. the proposal is indeed budget neutral, as would be letting things expire. the proposal is not family
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neutral. students end up paying more, more than the government's costs. that's point number one. and i know my colleague understands it and that's the dilemma we're in because there are different values here. to me, if i had to do one thing, my highest priorities and where the federal government ought to help out families, middle-class families, it's helping pay for the cost of college. and revenue neutrality, particularly at an artificially high baseline, 6.8%, does not help out families, doesn't make it worse than the present baseline, doesn't make it better. i'd like to make it better. second point. one -- i've spent much of my time in the senate helping middle-class families pay for college, i'm the author of the american opportunity tax credit which gives every middle-class family up to $180,000 -- i agree with my colleague's point about the middle class -- gives
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them and i know he's going to want to ask me a question, but i would come back, i have a meeting on this issue with some of the people in the white house right now. so i'm not going to be able to answer a question. i don't want my colleague to stay -- but one of the problems -- so i believe in this strongly. and the tax credit is something i'm proud of, on the books for five years, $2,500 in the pockets of middle-class families to pay for college. one of the problems, every time we give the students a break, the colleges raise tuition. so the family isn't any easier off paying for college. weaned something -- we need something to deal with that issue. i don't know what it is but it won't be in any plan we're going to pass in next week or two. my view to extend the present 3.4% rate for a year to keep the situation the way it was before july 1 for a year while we come up with that type of solution
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makes sense. makes a good deal of sense. and third, we have another problem. a lot of these for-profit colleges have a high default rate. they raise the rates for everybody else. wash we going to do about those? some are not for-profit but any college that lends a student, helps students get a lot of loans and there's a huge default rate, low graduation rate, that makes all the rest of us pay. a little like health care. where a few people are making the rest of us pay quite a bit. that was through no fault of their own. who knows what this is. what do we do about them? i agree with my good friend from tennessee. we don't want to keep doing this year to year like the doc fix. but it would be a lot better just like the doc fix if we had a permanent solution that inteels deels with these two issues rather than just brushes over them and a one-year extension keeping the present situation, not raising
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anybody's rates at all makes sense. because while students will gain some -- not probably as much as under present law -- under the reed law, now they may lose a lot later because there's no caps except for the 8.25% when you refinance. but otherwise the caps are each year you can be 3.4% this year and interest rates go up 3%, you'll be at 6.4% next year and two%% at 8.4%. we don't know what interest rates will be. it's anybody's guess. but that's why caps are a good thing so when it gets too high, we have some limit. and i'm not sure a cap simply on consolidation is a good enough cap. so i respect my friend from tennessee, but i would argue to get a long-term -- i would
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argue there are two reasons the proposal senator stabenow talked about is better. one, it doesn't make money from students to pay the government. which using the present baseline and being budget neutral we would have to continue to do -- and two, it doesn't allow to us get to a long-term solution, which we must do and should do and maybe now that we're in this dilemma we're able to do it. i would love to have a colloquy with my colleagues from tennessee. i'll be back after this meeting if he's still around and i respect him and i know he's trying to come up with a fair and good solution, one that ideologically or substantively i might disagree with but i hope we keep moving towards one another so we can gain a good solution. with that i yield the floor. thank you, madam president. a senator: madam president,? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i thank the senator from new york. i understand he has a previous meeting. i hope i haven't made him late.
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maybe it will produce some -- some result. my goal is a result here. i don't see an issue that benefits either political party or any senator. and the questions that we who have been working on this have asked the congressional budget office is very simple. we've said our goal is to create a permanent solution along the lines that the president recommended and the house of representatives has now passed that neither costs the taxpayers additional money or overcharges the student. so please give us what the interest rates would be and what the type of loan should be and the congressional budget office, the nonpartisan congressional budget office goes through all this and they suggest a variety of options
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that they have. what they've told us is the proposal of the bipartisan group comes as close to being equal as one can get. it's about nearly a billion dollars over ten years, which when you're loaning $100 billion a year is sort of a rounding error. so the intention is to say that we're going to loan it to the students for what it costs the government to borrow the money but we're not going to overcharge the students and we're not going to ask the taxpayers to pay additional subsidy. now, within that if you helped that idea, then you could say their a variety of ways to do that. as the bipartisan group has suggested or you could try to put a cap on. whenever you put a cap on, it costs a lot more for the taxpayers. and a cap at 10% doesn't cost very much because interest rates aren't estimated to go that high for undergraduates, especially.
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but as you go down to 9% and 8% and 7% or to 6.8%, it balloons very rapidly. and so you could meet that principle of fair to taxpayers and fair to students but you're going to have to -- going to have to raise a lot of money to do it. and i haven't heard anybody suggest where $50 billion or $60 billion more is going to come from. so i think it's better to go ahead and amend the house bill, make it a better bill, put the senate's imprint on it, send it to the president. let's -- let's let all of today's students take advantage of today's low rates and a permanent solution that would reflect what the actual cost of money is. it may go up. it may go down. that's -- that's the reality. but as we know with the low-income students, what we call the subsidized loans, the
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taxpayer already pays the interest on those loans while the student is in college. that's about $50 billion a year. i mean, over -- over ten years. and the rate is at -- and those students are also eligible for pell grants, most of them are, and that's about $350 billion over ten years. so there's substantial subsidy. and the senator mentioned the fair credit report act. the fair credit report act is a way that the congress has said the c.b.o. should count when it's making these kind of computations so it does that. but it also does it according to a fair value method of accounting. and maybe the simplest way to explain it is to say that the -- that the fair credit reporting act actually favors the students pretty heavily in this computation. the fair market value accounting is more realistic and it -- it
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would favor the taxpayers' point of view. so we're using the accounting system, or the c.b.o. is, and we are in this bill that really is more generous to students. so i still, after listening respectfully to all i've heard, don't see why in the world we're going to insist that for the next year several million middle-income students are going to have to pay 6.8% when they could be paying 3.66%. that's what i can't understand. and i hope we continue this debate and tomorrow we'll have at least one vote on it. i hope after that we have more discussion that we come to a result because there are a lot of families waiting for to us make a decision. the president's weighed in. the house of representatives has passed a bill. we've got a bipartisan bill on the floor. we need to come to a result, send it to the president so families can make their decisions about how they're going to pay the college bills. i thank the president, and i yield the floor.
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: thank you, madam president. last year the most profitable company in america was exxonmobil. exxonmobil made about $44. $44.9 billion in profit last year. america's student loan program did better. america's student loan program last year made a profit of right around $50 billion, eclipsing the profit of exxonmobil, of apple, of j.p. morgan chase. in fact, of every u.s.-based company, none of them ran a profit as high, as steep, as generous as the u.s. student
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loan program did. madam president, why i'm coming down to the floor today to support a one-year freeze on student loan rates is because, as you have led this argument, that's the discussion that we should be having. why on earth do we allow our student loan program to make profits greater than any other american company makes? why are our students being asked more so than almost any other population in our country to bear the burden of paying down our deficit? it just doesn't make any sense. and so it's time that in the context of the higher education act, which we are hopefully going to debate later this year, that we have that broader conversation. and this bill on the floor now giving us a one-year freeze to keep students where they are today -- paying a $3.4% interest rate -- it just makes sense, both in the short term, to try
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to make sure that students don't have to pay upwards of $5,000 more over the course of the repayment of their loan, but then allows us to start to have a conversation with ourselves as to whether or not we want to allow the student hone program to be the most profitable company in the united states on the backs of students. this matters to me, madam president, because i'm one of the millions of young americans that are still paying back my student loans. my wife and i are paying them back as we speak, and, of course, with two young little boys at home, we're also scurrying to save as much as we can to pay for their future college costs. now, i'm not going to sit here and complain, because between my wife and i, we make a pretty good salary and we can afford to pay back our student loans and we can afford on squirrel a little bit away for our two little kids. but our story is not the reality for millions of other young families who can't afford to do
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both of those things. well, the average college graduate in this country has a much lower unemployment rate than other americans, somewhere around 4% or 5%, young college graduates today stand at an 8.8% unemployment rate and an 18.3% underemployment rate. that's the stuff that we don't talk enough about here. there are a lot of young people who are working part-time or temporary jobs today that just don't bring in enough money in order to pay back their student loans, which on average today are somewhere around $30,000. everybody can point to a neighbor or a friend who's walking out of their undergraduate education today with $100,000 or more. and the fact is, is that there are just millions of families in the position that my family is in. we're squeezed between paying back the debt that we owe and trying to put away money so that our kids don't have to have the same kind of debt that we do.
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that's money that doesn't go into the main street of our economy, that doesn't go to fix up your house and put a carpenter to work, that doesn't go to the local grocery store or to the restaurant around the corner. it's money instead that gets sent by and large to the big banks. doesn't make sense. and this bill on the floor today allows us to have this bigger, broader conversation. i'll say this, though, madam president, we're fooling ourselves if we think that the solution to our higher education affordability crisis is just the interest rate that we pay on loans. it's not. and shame on us if coming out of the resolution of this debate, which i hope comes in the next couple weeks, we don't step back and say that there's so much more that this senate and this congress can be doing to take on the broader issue of affordability. students took out about
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$113 billion in student loans this last year and that's double what they took out just ten years ago. we can't afford to have the amount of money being taken out in student loans double on a decade-by-decade basis. that will bankrupt not only our students but it will bankrupt our country no matter what interest rate we put on these loans. and so in the context of the higher education act, we've got to start challenging schools to think out of the box when it comes to assessing the cost of education. wesleyan university in connecticut has given the option to students to get a degree in three years instead of four. more and more schools are moving to cheaper but still high-value on-line education. probably time that we step back and ask even tougher questions about whether or not it makes sense to award degrees based on a largely arbitrary number of credits rather than an assessment of the skills that you have gained. maybe over four years but,
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frankly, maybe over 2 1/2 or three years. if college valley about preparing students -- if college really is about preparing students for the work force, then maybe we should be awarding degrees and costing out degrees based on whether or not you're ready to enter the work force, not just based on if you've gone the requisite number of years or taken the requisite number of courses. maybe 50 years ago we could afford the system that we have but we can't any longer. we can't have that conversation if we don't settle this one. so my hope is that we will be able to extend the 3.4% interest rate for the time being and that we can have a serious conversation about the issue of profitable in the long run. lastly, madam president, i'll just say this. senator alexander has left the floor, but the republican proposal is just temporary as well. he's right to point out that for a certain subset of individuals
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who don't qualify today for the 3.4% interest rate, the republican proposal may in the short run provide a different lower interest rate. but we know that interest rates are just going up. we know that their proposal is no less temporary than the one-year freeze that we offer because ultimately in the long run, or, frankly, in the medium run, those students who today might qualify for a lower rate are going to be paying a much higher rate in the not-so-distant future. and so we're kidding ourselves if we think that the benefit of the republican proposal is that in the long run, students are all of a sudden going to gain the benefit of today's interest rates. this is not how things work. it's not how the trend line is going. madam president, lastly, about a month ago i was sitting with a group of counselors at a local after-school program in danbury,
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connecticut, and they were all sort of working part-time jobs and counseling kids at this after-school program just because they believed in the program. these were community-minded kids, they were the salt of the earth, kids that really cared about trying to help out disadvantaged youth in their neighborhood. but none of them were going to college. and i asked them, i said, you know, are -- are you not going to college because of the cost? and they looked at me like i had three heads. they said, of course the reason why we're not going to college is the cost. we would love to be in college today. but there's just no way that we can afford it. and the fact is, is that we're looking at 4.4 million students over the next ten years who are likely to not be able to afford college simply because of the cost. and the difference between 3.4% and 6.8% can be $5,000 for some students over the course of the repayment of their loan. that is the difference maker for
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students. and we're cig ourselves if we don't think -- and we're kidding ourselves if they don't think that 18- and 19-year-old kids aren't doing the math when they're deciding whether they can afford to go to college or not. they are much more sophisticated that people on this floor think they are. they understands that the they understand that the deal we are potentially giving them on the floor of the senate is one that will make college unaffordable for tens if not hundreds of thousands of students. shame on us  if we don't have a better answer for those kids in dan bury, connecticut, -- danbury, connecticut, and millions like them across the country who just want a shot at college and make sure that they alone are not asked to pick up the burden of paying down the deficit of the united states. with that, madam president, i yield the floor.
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ms. warren: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. ms. warren: mr. president, i rise this evening in support of keep student loans affordable, the bill that has been introduced by senators reed and hagan. you know, we have been talking a lot in the last few hours about student loans, about the cost of student loans, and we have talked particularly about subsidized loans. i just want to start this by pointing out, subsidized loans
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is not the right term. no one is subsidizing any of our students. the lowest cost loans that the u.s. government issues today produces a profit for the government. in other words, who is doing the subsidizing? our students are doing the subsidizing. they are the ones who are creating the profits for the united states government. now, let's talk about those profits. this year, those profits, as you rightly pointed out, those profits will be more than $50 billion. those are profits made on the students' loans that are already outstanding and the profits that we are going to start making off the new loans when the interest rate doubles at 6.8%. we are talking about under this bill, keep student loans affordable, how to prevent making even more profits off our students, a short-term patch to hold interest rates steady for all of our students while we try
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to attack the core problems. but the problem we have as we deal with this and the problem with the republican proposal is that right now the new loans are scheduled to produce $184 billion in profits for the united states government over the next ten years. let me say that again. at the current interest rate of 6.8%, which is where it went as of july 1 if congress doesn't act, the u.s. government will make $184 billion in profits off our students over the next ten years. now, the republicans have put forward a plan, and they have said in this plan that they want to be budget neutral or deficit neutral, they have used both of the terms, but understand what that means. the proposal that they are putting forward in fact produces
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$184 billion in profits for the united states government. in fact, the republican plan goes just a little beyond that and produces an extra billion dollars in profits for the united states government. that's what the republicans are putting forward. now, how can you sell something that says we're going to make $185 billion off the backs of our students, and the answer is, according to the republicans, offer them a teaser rate, tell them that just next year, we're going to keep that interest rate low, and the year after that, well, it might be a little bit higher and the year after that it might just be a little bit higher than that, and don't ask any questions about the years going forward. but understand this -- senator alexander, for whom i have deep respect, made the point that he just wanted to use the c.b.o.
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scoring numbers. that's the neutral arbiter of what things cost. what does the c.b.o. say about the republican plan? and the answer is it will produce more -- that is, just a little bit more -- than the same $184 billion in profits that come from doubling the student loan interest rate to 6.8%. in other words, what the republicans are proposing is the same thing you got in the mail when you got the zero percent teaser rate credit card. boy, we'll give you something cheap up front. don't read the fine print. don't see what's going to happen on down the line. soar the same thing that happened with the teaser rate mortgages. nice, low payments at the beginning until the whole thing exploded later on. that's the republican plan. it's not a fix. it's just a different way to
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make $184 billion in profits off the backs of our students. what the democrats are proposing here is a plan that says don't raise the interest rates on anybody. just keep them where they are, including 3.4% on our stafford loans. let's keep it there. now, here's a point i want to make on this that i haven't heard anybody talking about. what the democratic proposal has in it is it acknowledges the u.s. government's going to make less money doing that because there is no back end to make this up, and because the u.s. government is going to make -- is going to lose money, they're not going to make as much money by doing that, it has something in it to pay for it, to offset the cost to the budget. so we propose closing a tax loophole, raising about $4 billion in new revenues so that we don't make that $4 billion in revenues off our
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kids immediately. in other words, if we're going to reduce the profits that we're trying to make from our kids, there has to be a way to pay for it. the plan proposed by the democrats is short term, it's a one-year fix, and it has a proposal to pay for it because it actually proposes reducing the profits that the u.s. government makes. take a look at the republican plan. there's no pay in the republican plan because it proposes to continue to make that $184 billion over the next ten years. so that's what this is about. we know that what we need in the long term is we have got to solve two big problems. there is a trillion dollars in outstanding student loan debt. we have got to find a better way to deal with it, a way that is not continuing to produce profits for the united states government. the second is the rising cost of college. we have got to address that.
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it's going to be a hard problem to tackle. we can't solve it in a matter of a few days. it takes time to do it. so what the democrats propose is don't raise interest rates on anyone, don't double my rate, keep them where they are, and let's buy a year with a short-term patch in order to address the systemic problems that we need to address, the outstanding student loan debt, the rising cost of college for all of our students. this is our chance to help our students. this is a small down payment. it is a small help for some of our students and a real commitment that we are going to make a difference in the future. it is not a proposal that says we're going to try to fool you here, we're going to reduce prices just for a little while and then sock somebody else on the back end. that's not what this should be
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about. that's not what the united states government should be doing. it is our responsibility, it is our opportunity to invest in our students. the democrats propose that we get started on that and we get started on it tomorrow. i support keep student loans affordable. i commend senator reed and senator hagan for their work on this, and i hope that tomorrow this body will come together and pass it for our students and for our country. thank you, mr. president. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. ms. warren: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a period of mogadishu with senators permitted to speak -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. ms. warren: i ask that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. warren: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. warren: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations -- calendar number 192, 193, 194, that the nominations be confirmed en bloc, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate, that no further motions be in order to any of the nominations,
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that any related statements be printed in the record, that the president be immediately notified of the senate's action, and the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. warren: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 94, s. res. 151. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 94, s. res. 151, urging the government of afghanistan to ensure transparent and credible presidential elections, and so forth. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. ms. warren: i further ask that the committee-reported substitute amendment be agreed to, resolution as amended be agreed to, the committee-reported amendment to the preamble be agreed to, the preamble as amended be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made
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and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. warren: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. on wednesday, july 10, 2013. that following the prayer and pledge, the morning business be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, and that the majority leader be recognized and that following the remarks of the two leaders, the time until 12:00 p.m. be equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees, with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. further, that at 12:00 p.m., the senate proceed to vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to s. 1238, the student loan bill. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. warren: at noon tomorrow,
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there will be a cloture vote on the motion to proceed to the student loan bill. if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.
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send democrats have offered a proposal to roll back the student loan interest rate to treatment 4%. it doubled to 6.8% effective july 1st. how much support this proposal have? >> it has almost no support among republicans and frankly limited support among democrats. a number of folks on the side of the democratic caucus who do support this will back to where the rates were at the beginning of the month their argument being that what they want is for the congress to do a proper overhaul of federal government policy or higher education and as part of that they would hope that they could address this on a permanent basis. they have now doubled and there
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is no consensus what to do in the short term of of those rates. there is another plan floating around that has bipartisan support on the democratic side of the aisle. you have senators from virginia, tom carper of delaware and independent senator of maine. they are working with an equal number of republicans to concoct a plan that will see some rates go up and others go down on the market-based solution to the loans. that plan would be more in keeping with what the republicans passed earlier in the year and with the president proposed back in february. unfortunately that plan doesn't seem to have enough support among the democrats to be voted into the senate it so what we really have is a kind of plan situation where it is not evident yet what votes are going to occur for which plans and when. there's a lot of talk we could see action later this week and not clearly yet what exactly is
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going to happen. but i think what is most interesting about the situation in contrast to last year there was a sense of urgency this had to get done before july 1st and of course there was a very large political going on. this year the july 1st deadline can't wait and there are little sense of urgency. the rate has doubled from a lot of students taking up the loan and every day that nothing gets done the students take the loans and pay high interest rates today there is no sign of an immediate solution to the quandary. >> the democrats, let's go back to the democratic plan. how much money with the cost the federal government to do it for just one year and where does it come from to finance it? >> democrats would take money from -- the democratic plan they don't want to add to the deficit as a part of their plan.
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the republican plan in the house and the bipartisan one which was mentioned a moment ago to the deficit and democrats have argued they are in essentially seeking to help balance the federal budget on the back of students who when they argue that isn't appropriate. so what they do, they would take money from the tax credits available and they would use that money to pay for the short term fix. >> the republican bill has attracted support from democrats who is in sync with that bill and why are they going against the party on that issue? >> you have some folks who don't see it as going against their party so much as an area where there can be bipartisan cooperation, not a concept that is happening here these days so they don't see it going against
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the party where there planas fairly similar to that which barack obama and his budget request to congress earlier this year. they see it as a more realistic long term fixed. the plan would link their rates the new loans are taken out of long-term interest rates paid by the federal government and they viewed the plan that would fix the problem once and for all as opposed to the short term extensions we have started to see as of late. >> what has the administration had to say about this? >> very little. the talk about the president's plan released in the budget earlier. we talk about the desire to see a solution. they talk about a desire to see the parties come together but what we haven't seen is administration officials talking right now what specifically they want to see happen.
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we hear from the sources that behind the scenes of the administration is upgivingport to the democrats in the senate who want to do an extension and at the same time they recognize there isn't enough support to get that done right now. so what the democratic aides are telling me is they want to know in the clarity with the white house wants to see happen right now. the senator harry reid today when speaking with reporters mentioned he was seeking a meeting but dennis mcdonald house allows arne duncan and the education secretary. i gathered that would be an opportunity to get a better sense where the administration is and how hard they are going to push for the solution to be realized. >> congressional reporter for "the wall street journal," we appreciate you being with us. >> the senate judiciary committee hearing this morning
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for the fbi director nominee. a registered republican he formerly served as a u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york and as a deputy attorney general during the george w. bush administration resigning in 2000 for the concerns he raised about electronic surveillance workers he thought to be illegal. the administration eventually halted the program. during today's hearing the chairman patrick leahy of for want asked him about the nsa collection of u.s. phone records and internal data. >> the surveillance power of the fbi had grown. they are becoming more of a domestic surveillance agency and crime fighting intelligence organization. the patriot act can get vast amounts of information including the date of the law-abiding
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americans. do you believe that of the collection of the medicaid for the domestic telephone calls and e-mails is appropriate? even when the majority of individuals with whom the calls or the e-mails are associated are law-abiding americans? >> senator, i'm not familiar with the details of the current programs. obviously we haven't been clear for anything like that. i do know as a general matter of the analysis is a valuable tool in the counterterrorism. >> what me ask you this, we are going to be in this committee very shortly reviewing again some of the aspects of this. if you are confirmed will you work with me for some common
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sense for the surveillance law. >> i would be happy to work with you. >> i worry that again as i said earlier some you understand, i am thinking that just because we can do it, i'm not sure that it means we should without going into the open session. i also ask you this which is a basic question. william a. sure that the fbi doesn't lose sight of the traditional time to the crime-fighting initiatives white collar crime public corruption,
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forensics reform, and not just be seduced by the intelligence gathering aspect. >> yes, sir and i think that he's tried to strike that balance and i would as well. the fbi has to be both an intelligence agency and crime-fighting agency. >> both have a background in law enforcement and sometimes it is the nuts and bolts of the most important average person. those are the people of we have to protect. >> yes, sir. >> the problem was he did not understand that the natural selection could never have really worked. because imagine you have the population of a million and
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suppose it does provide you with a big advantage. but in this one did theory you mix things like gin and tonic and you get a gray cat committee met with other and they get -- this thing just gets a diluted and the advantage disappears and never appears again to get >> lawmakers on both sides of the capitol are working on immigration. on today's washington journal, we talk with new york congressman jerrold nadler about what progress is being made and the passage for the immigration bill.
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>> jerry nadler, democrat of new york. we want to talk about immigration reform and the prospect for it. welcome back to the t first if i could get your take on egypt, because a lot of conversation, a lot of reports on the papers today. should we stop the aid to egypt? >> was a strange conversation. they had something like 10 million signatures would of same to the to people saying he should step aside this is a country of 75 million people together. and they have literally millions of people demonstrating. one might say that the maziku and the other side of the constitution was adopted by
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rather strong arm tactics. i would suggest we wouldn't stop the military aid. you have got two sides neither of whom are acting democratically. the military firing is unforgivable. the brotherhood under morsi was trying to eliminate the space procedures. but the definition of democracy is not a one-man, one-vote, one time although some countries seem to think it is. the united states will do whatever it can. if you want to say the administration has a good policy or bad policy it isn't all that clear that we have that much leverage but we have to do what we can to get the mean people to talk to each other and sit down to form a sort of a coalition government until the elections
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can be held quickly under some sort of a space constitution. >> immigration reform, prospect in the house. what do you think they are? the senate passed a bill last month and they are meeting behind closed doors tomorrow. what is the way forward? >> we will have a better idea after tomorrow. >> the way for which there is a way forward is that the senate passed most people in interested consider reasonable. i think it is a rather over the harsh bill that is my personal judgment. the republicans are passing -- i sit on the judiciary committee. and we have passed very harsh punitive one-sided bills. you could take those bills, passed on the house floor and the homeland security committee passed them on the floor and then go to the confidence of the senate with a comprehensive bill
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and then see if you can come to something people can support when it comes back from the conference committee. they wouldn't permit any bill to go to the house floor that doesn't have the republican conference. this presumably includes a conference report after the conference kennedy. if the majority of the republican conference will support a pathway to the legalization that is to citizenship ultimately on the just legalization there won't be the bill if there should be. there are other of bottomline. but it has to be some sort of ultimately the pathway to citizenship. if the pathway -- of the bottom line for the republicans to be secure border control that can be accommodated. it's the bottom line is the pathway to citizenship, there would be no bill.
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>> testiculate with house judiciary committee has done. the local officials have more authority to enforce their immigration law on their books. the legal work force act which is basically -- >> to enforce the federal law. the legal work force verify program the agriculture act, the skills act of more visas for the educated. >> almost every the agrees there should be more use for high school workers. the problem with the bow and why all of the democrats in the committee go against it is that for the i think 50,000 extra visas for the stem cell work it took 50,000 away from the diversity and other unifications.
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that is not acceptable. >> why the piecemeal -- are you okay with this effort they are doing or do you think it should be a comprehensive bill? >> you will ultimately have to be a comprehensive bill. if they want to do a piecemeal bill so that a given republican can vote for that and against that and that's okay now but eventually it's going to have to be a comprehensive bill when it comes back from congress. certainly if they think that they compare the bills that are going to crack down and appropriate the billions and tens of billions from border security and make things hard and have an obnoxious guest worker program and not do the things that democrats want like that happen to fit citizenship it's not going to fly. doing it piece by piece is a way to avoid that question until the
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end. >> the chairman of the judiciary committee is quoted in "the wall street journal" saying there is a lot of concern not just in the house of representatives but across the country about massive pieces of legislation that when you do it country inns of like the senate you get 1200 pages. a lot of provisions and people don't know what is in the bill. but the american public doesn't like that. >> i think with all due respect it's a fine legislature. that doesn't make sense. most of what we have done on the notable things, social security, medicare are very broad and large comprehensive bills when they were initially passed. i don't know how many hundreds of pages but there were hundreds of pages. when in the complex society like this when you pass a major thing like that it becomes inevitable. now, so the people know what's in it you have to spend some time with it. don't pass it in the dead of
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night when the republicans are in charge ten years ago or eight years ago, but never was. have the bill held for weeks before you vote on it if you want to and you can do those things. when you pass major legislation there will have to be some cleanup that is to say you find out this provision doesn't work or the drafting of that provision was in exactly what he wanted it to be. there is always clean up legislation as to the medicare social security problem we have now flexible with obamacare is the republicans won't allow the cleanup legislation even to correct because they want to sabotage the implementation of the bill but normally you to become regan's ability and reasonable cleanup legislation after that and that is late progress has been made. >> the congressman goes on to say for the senate to be pressuring the house to take up the bill is a high risk reward and that could fail and kill the pector any immigration
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legislation in this congress. >> the only thing about what killed -- i don't know that that is fair. the senate isn't really pressing the house to take up their bill. the senate is pressing the house to make sure that the major provisions of the bill are dealt with. and the fact is that as long as the house gets the conference and then everything coming out of both houses has to be discussed sufficient with what the senate is saying if you want the provisions that you want, the stronger border enforcement and so forth, that can be negotiated but it has to have a cup wheat citizenship >> he was a part of this so-called gang of eight working on a bipartisan comprehensive approach was on "meet the press" on sunday and was asked by david gregory about the senate bill and he explained his promise to be i want to get your reaction to what he had to say. >> the concern of the senate bill is that they put the
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legalized station of 11 million people the head of security. the legalization happens first and security second. the american people aren't going to stand for that. if you look at the obamacare debacle they have right now, the administration is deciding when and where to actually enforce law. that is what some of us are concerned about. if you give the authority to decide when and how they are going to enforce law and you tell them it's okay if they decide there will be 20,000 or 20,000 border patrol agents or how they get to determine when the border is secure i can tell you janet napolitano has already said the border is secure. >> congressman? >> i think there are a number of points in their that frankly are not the case. first of all, you can in the
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legislation allowed an administration a lot of leeway or very little. number two, the senate bill and the administration approach says let's have a long pathway toward citizenship and the senate bill has a minimum of 13 years. he says by which he means and is correct that very shortly people can come out of hiding. they get a green card, i forget what they call it which enables them to work, to be legal in the united states while they are on a 13 year plus pathway toward citizenship. at the same time you have a very strong border enforcement. now, right now the department of homeland security tells us but illegal immigration and the
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united states is as far as we can tell right now zero because the administration stepped up enforcement with more than twice as many border patrol on the border now than there were when the administration started. they're doing 400,000 a year which is a record in american history. and we have a weak economy so for all of those reasons the illegal immigration is roughly zero. it could go up again and so forth the thervant all these different things, $45 billion worth of fencing and more border people, can you guarantee that you have zero enforcement? it is 86% effective now. some say there should be 90%, we are really fighting over 5%? the same as the congressman says there should be no legalization and nothing should start unless you guarantee that everything
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you've done has worked as a lot of people are concerned then you will never do that as they will never be willing to say that everything is working fine you put the efforts and to place and they are of sufficient magnitude and stop the process. >> let's get our viewers involved. >> caller: hello, congressman. good morning. i wonder do you walk through the district how many on employment you see in your district? okay. others 24 up to 40 million americans who are in the sunshine. they are american citizens you are supposed to represent. they are not in the shadows. they are in the sun shining and they are out there trying to in the hidden economy trying to have a job, raise their family, pay their bills but you are not
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interested in them. you are interested in the 11 million people who came here illegally. >> guest: not all the 11 million came here to their own version. the reality is the country isn't clear to deport 11 million people. it couldn't if it tried. the question is if you want undocumented people who cannot protest the unfair working conditions and minimum wages because if they do they will be deported by their employer who's breaking a law to pay the minimum wage. if you want those people bringing down the wages with a sub minimum wage by accepting the sweat shop conditions, then leave the situation as it is. if you make the status legal
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then you can enforce the minimum wages with decent pay and decent conditions and that will help them who won't have to compete with this. number two if we talk about unemployment and we should be talking about it a lot more than we are we should be talking about stimulating the economy in the borrowing money at a negative interest rate where people are paying us to take their money and spending it on infrastructures and roads and bridges and hospitals and putting people to work. now the party is really talking about that. that is what we should be doing about unemployment. >> host: i may high skilled worker. i don't want a foreigner taking it. sorry i don't think it's right. ashley says white we need more visas for high-tech workers and not for our own educational system to make americans ready to work? >> i agree. we ought to improve our educational system obviously, but that doesn't give skilled
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workers immediately to the it takes time. it also takes money which this congress isn't willing to spend. second, i am somewhat torn frankly to it i would be willing to vote for these high skilled immigrants come high skilled visas because all of our companies are telling us they can't get american workers, enough american workers and engineers and trained people to do this on the one hand giving it and also on the one hand, we train of lots of people what our schools and colleges of the best in the world we train them that i attack -- high-tech but it doesn't make a lot of sense to be on the other hand, i am worried that the firms that are saying they can't get american workers with wages they are paying that some of them are high wages. in the perfect world it wouldn't support this but given where we
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are at i will support reluctantly to the this mcdonald's in louisiana. >> caller: i don't think we need a reformed immigration. i think they need to enforce the law or on the books and the rest of that are here ship them back where they come from because all you're doing is coming over here taking our jobs and it always starts off on spanish for english press one where it should be the opposite. >> what about that sentiment where we are taking our jobs? >> caller: economists tell us that is not the case when you look at anybody whether you are born here or a legal immigrant or not a legal immigrant, if you are here you are spending money on food and clothing and rent and whatever and that generates
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activity. the 11 million people here are a benefit to the economy and the gaining jobs are not questioned jobs and that is complicated economics but there doesn't seem to be much disagreement. you can look at the individuals and see that person is working so maybe i should have the job as a waiter but nothing in terms of the economy they generate jobs and that's why the congressional budget office in their ratings or scoring as we say the senate immigration bill says that will save money, large amounts of money in the federal government over time. >> host: on securing the border a couple of tweets. e-verify for all employers and landlords and the filing clerk says building fences and securing the border will create jobs, yes? >> guest: let's take them in order. that is part of a senate has agreed to that. my only quorum with this is it something like a 3% rate. we have to get that down because that means people but are born
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here and others who -- if eugene mcmahon is an illegal immigrant, but he was born here, etc. come he confined himself able to get a job. if we have e-verify them that is my only concern. but otherwise we support that. yes, the basic agreement is on e-verify. what was the other question? ..
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i live in michigan, my border, canada. what is the problem with canada verses mexico? i mean, i don't see anybody screaming and yelling about immigration from canada to michigan or, you know, why it is not so prevalent there and so out of control in mexico. >> host: congressman. >> guest: well, there are two reasons, to comments to make. number one, canada is a first world economy country with a prosperous economy. they are not an economic pressure to come to the united states from canada. that is the main thing. most people who immigrate today are 150 years ago, for economic reasons. the 1848 revolution in europe because there were seeking
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liberty. freedom from religious persecution, but most came for economic opportunity, and that is still the case. in mexico there is a very heavily populated country right next to the united states with very low and desperate economic situations. that is not the case in canada, number one. number two, some of the opposition -- some. i am not saying most. some of the opposition is a racist. they are upset and brown-skinned people, hispanics. the population ratio is changing. there is opposition to that. people being upset by that. that is obviously not the case with anyone from canada. >> host: john from kentucky, independent colored. >> caller: good morning, congressman. >> guest: good morning. >> caller: my comment is that i think the drug cartels in mexico have got to -- they have all the attention on the border
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when all the activity is going on beneath the border. 80 percent of the tunnels have not been discovered by law enforcement agents, federal or state. the majority are coming with the illegal aliens. read what you get the -- the ground penetrating radar does not do the job. i will hang up and listen to your answer. >> guest: i don't know much about that, frankly. obviously if there are tunnels under the border that are below our -- the capability of the equipment used by the government , we should get the equipment that is usable. there is no excuse. the israelis have to handle it with gaza and the egyptians with gusts up. they are fighting it. we certainly should not.
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whatever it takes within a reasonable cost -- i have no idea what that is -- we should do. >> host: on twitter challenging you saying that this is a political calculation by democrats. during the liberal talking points on making illegals legal. the real reason is that they want voters. >> guest: frankly, that is absurd. number one, the shortest possible time for citizenship is 13 years. that is a long time. number two, the assumption that these people, undocumented immigrants got 13 or 15 will go democratic. makes the assumption that the republicans will not say anything that attracts them. that is true today. they're not saying at the end of the day they're communicating. we don't like you. and they have to stop doing that. that is why people like senator
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mccain and a lot of other republicans are saying we have to support a reasonable immigration bill and straw -- stop transmitting the message to hispanics and latinos that we don't like you. if they do that they will adapt. you cannot assume that any ethnic group is always going to vote democratic or republican. it ships overtime and depending upon how parties make their nests -- messages and images on the issues 20 years from now. ♪ the "wall street journal" notes that the gang of seven in the house working on a comprehensive approach that there legislation, the path would be even slower taking 15 years as opposed to the senate bill. >> guest: let me add one thing. the so-called -- the undocumented people you are sorry about becoming citizens are voting democratic which is why they are supporting and basically hispanic and latinos.
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if you legalize nobody, latinos are a growing share of the electorate and will continue. republicans in not appeal to latinos. and the same for asians. a very small minority party. >> host: the journal also noticed that this started out as a gang of 20. or you part of it? >> guest: no. >> host: one at join this effort? >> guest: it was kept secret and i was not part of that. i am on the immigration committee. sorry, i am on the judiciary committee, and that the immigration subcommittee and as such an party to those discussions. when we see the immigration bill that the gang of seven produces,
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which is a -- which is set for next week we will have to make judgments and draft amendments and deal with it. this is a private effort by a select group of people who did not involve the immigration effort. >> host: in north dakota, republican caller. >> caller: yes, i believe the congressman is taking on a lot of viewers about the militants, how the republicans -- that is exactly why we don't want illegals in the political system , our foreign countries. we are not all immigrants.
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if it gets more worse than what it is. >> host: okay. i will have the congressman respond. >> guest: at first, unless you're a native american you are an immigrant or descendants of an immigrant. we all are. second of all, no one is saying the united states has to change to some other political system. the history of immigration to this country from the very beginning is that people look at the new group. germans in 1860 are irish and 1840's, italians in 1880. they're terrible. they will change this. and the answer is, they always end up. they make contributions. we of certain things which is good, but a generation or two, every group assimilates and
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becomes american. and it is certainly the case with hispanic immigrants. they were here before anyone else. other than the native americans. and it is true with respect to people whether they came here with documents or not. when my grandparents came here everyone was an illegal immigrant because we did not have those kinds of laws. whether you're here because you came with proper documents are not, over time you and your children. and they don't require that we change our systems. >> host: reporting that house republican meetings tomorrow behind closed doors to figure out the path that they want to take toward immigration reform. the question is maybe september. they put some sort of bill on the floor during the july month year, the legislative work frame before the august recess. maybe there is a final vote in
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september. if it does not happen this fall whether prospects for it happening before the 2014 election? >> i don't know. i cannot answer that. we are going to have some major crises in the fall. i think we're heading for another major crisis when the current fiscal year ends. diametrically opposed positions from the senate and the house on how much fish is been done just about everything. we're going to have the figure out a way to avoid a government shut down by passing something. another crisis over the debt ceiling sometime in the fall before the end of the year. those will preoccupy us to a large extent. hopefully we will still have time for other things. if they go into 2014i still think the political crises are still there. there are reasons why a lot of
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people want to do something to reserve the party. and other republicans will say, over my dead body. i don't think that changes. the balance and whether we can get agreement, i don't know that it is all that different. >> host: vermont, democratic collar. >> caller: yes, congressman, i have been listening to you. i agree with the other caller that the laws on immigration that are on the books need to be enforced just like any other because the united states is already incapacitated with people. i mean, they gave way for a group of people so that you can make it, you know, comfortable so that the economy can work properly, mainstream americans, you have to be able to of force
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was -- enforce laws that are on the books so it will not destroy this country. when you are going to start making exceptions for groups of people violating the laws, that will cause a ripple effect. and i'm telling you, this is what will happen. i am african american. i have nothing against hispanics or latinos, but they are the ones that are responsible for bringing these drugs into california and causing all the problems that happening in california. that is why the economy is in iraq right now. >> guest: that is an entirely different discussion. not because of immigration or illegal immigration. that is a separate discussion. the fact is, yes, of course we have to enforce the law. you cannot enforce the law. the administration has been spending far more money and making far more efforts than any prior administration. we have -- i'm not happy, but we
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have been deported 400,000 people per year. no credit or blame for that, but the fact is it is impossible to enforce the law 100 percent that is basically unenforceable. people sit across the border the feed their family. you can get nine and a tan, but that last one you can't. you can spend more money. catch 92 out of 100. and the basic question, the basic deal behind in the -- in the immigration bill is we will step up enforcement, especially on the employment sides of the people cannot get or hold jobs, not just the border. maybe the better way to go. the more effective way to go, what you do that to shut the spigot now. in return for that you say the
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11 million people are here and many have been here for decades. many came as small children. some kid who does not even know that he was brought here illegally is an american. and so the essential deal is, we will shut the flow by -- as much as we can buy these various measures, but we will take this group, which we will not support. this country cannot. the country would not stand. okay. we will give them a long path to citizenship. jump through a lot of hurdles, but we are setting -- shutting it down. now, the controversy is people like my friend. well, maybe you won't shut it down. well, that is part of the debate. you have to have measures that people will be effective. >> host: and not all workers come here to become citizens. how are you working to deal with
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those who want the money, not citizenship? >> guest: they don't have to apply for citizenship. there are two provisions in the senate bill, to basic provisions. one is a guest worker program for people who will come here for four or five or six months to work on the farm and then come back again. we saw various forms of guest worker problems. the other is that if you are here and have been for years, an undocumented person, you get legalized so that you can drive a car illegally. you can work legally. you can protest to your employer if he is disobeying the law without getting deported. you don't have to apply for citizenship. if you don't want to, you don't have to. that is their choice. nothing forces anyone to apply
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for citizenship. >> host: is she illegal? >> guest: no. >> host: how is that? >> guest: she marries an american citizen. it is legal for because she is married to an american citizen. >> host: independent caller. >> caller: good morning. what about our own children? what about our own children that we have here in this country that we need to focus on, falling to the wayside every day. you know, that if he dropped out of school, someone cannot teach him how to pick tomatoes. we have thousands of young people here that can now be taught and learned, but just because they come from a country that is versus style and as liberty and -- people don't learn if they're not nourished. young people are falling to the wayside every day.
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they can't -- if you -- if you drop out of school, when i was a young man i could go work is 16 years old and get out here and do whatever and be able to move and do what i needed to do as a young person. today, yeah, they are skilled because they worked their butts off somewhere else. i am married to a colombian national. i have gone through. i sponsored my wife. i man who is a colombian stepson, and he is wonderful. i cannot take anything from these people. they are good. >> host: we get your point. >> guest: this is not the question. that is that we're not educating our children properly. we don't have the jobs for them.
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that is a whole economic debate. as think that the republicans are much worse than the democrats. providing jobs. we are to be spending more money on pre-k education. we know by the time kids come into kindergarten some are years behind because they come from a background where their parents are not reading to them and so forth. we should start it. every kid should be educated starting at two years old. and really have a much better educational system, much better vocational training system. not every child is capable that wants to get a college. an apprentice ship systems such as they have in germany and works very well. and we ought to stimulate our economy to generate jobs, but that is not an immigration question. >> host: we are talking with
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jerrold nadler, democrat from new york. what you to weigh in on the announcement by eliot spitzer that he will run for comptroller of the city. the support his bid? >> guest: which? >> host: both of them speak to know, i don't. we have been very close friends and associates for 30 years. he used to work for me when i was in the state assembly. an excellent candidate and will make an excellent comptroller. and i have not decided to i am supporting for mayor of. >> host: why? >> guest: i do not think he is the most qualified candidate. at think his record is not such that we ought to be considering him for mayor of. >> host: he should not have tried to make this a political comeback? >> guest: he is entitled to
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run, but i wish he hadn't. >> guest: -- >> host: democratic caller, back to our topic. go ahead. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. this topic is very important to me. i am an undergraduate student. i came here when i was 70 -- seven years of legally. i have been going through the legal system. and i am worried because no one is talking about immigration, legal immigration to help me out. i will be an international student just so i don't in-depth illegal. by parents pay the bills, lawyer fees and everything. yet there is nothing being talked about. everything is about illegal immigration. >> guest: i am not clear what your problem is. you came here illegally. i assume he could become a citizen if he wants to.
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>> host: are you still there? >> caller: the reason i am having a problem is that there is so much delay that i have not even been able to get through the process. >> host: the process for what? >> caller: when i send my files and sometimes the response, it is being filed. >> guest: my advice, a huge bureaucracy. often an ineffective one. my advice is find out who your congressman this or congresswoman. they undoubtedly have staff will try to help you with the process to get it through. much of what my staff does is cut through delays for people with immigration problems. >> host: jesse in kentucky, republican caller. go ahead. >> caller: yes. i have been over most of the united states, and i was in las vegas, nevada.
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and all for this immigration bill, but the people out there working in walmart that cannot even speak english. you have to point at what you want at the meat counter. i am not against immigration. i am against illegal. i don't understand what our government does not understand about illegal. >> guest: first of all, the problem you said about people at home are not speaking english has nothing to do with whether they are legal or illegal. secondly, enforcing the law is something we ought to do obviously and try to, but you can never do it, spending $3 to say. and we have because of a prior failure.
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maybe some administrations are to blame and maybe it was just beyond the help. we have a 11 million people here who are not documented. the basic, as i said before, the basic judgment in a comprehensive bill, if we will pass one will be we will tighten up the border, tighten up employment controls so that we will tighten up enforcement so that we won't have this problem. the existing problem will provide a pathway to citizenship , legalization eventually. both because it would be a huge cruelty to try to deport 11 million people. number two, economically and practically it is just not real. >> host: on another topic he recently introduced a pregnant workers fairness act. what is it and why is it needed? >> guest: well, what is it. the bill simply says that employers must make reasonable
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accommodation to the needs of a pregnant employee provided that that reasonable accommodation does not pose an undue hardship to the employer. and that language is taken directly from the american with disabilities act. the body of law. lots of reasonable accommodation. and pregnancy was quite properly ruled by the court not to be a disability and is not covered. why is it needed? because even though we passed back -- i was not here then, but 1978 congress passed the pregnant discrimination act. the courts have misinterpreted it and said that as long as you do the terrible things to pregnant women to other people it is not discrimination. as long as you say that, you can say to anyone.
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if you say that the women -- i'm sorry, that a person cannot carry a water bottle with them, you can enforce that against a pregnant women. so lots of pregnant women find that they cannot work and have to a take unpaid leave for get fired and there is no protection >> host: how big of a question is that? is there -- >> guest: i introduced the house version. there is a senate version also. the big business, i hope we can -- this would be a no-brainer, but it is not. some other states have similar legislation. and most women, a large number will get pregnant at some time in their lives. it is simple fairness that we ought to do this. >> host: a few more phone calls. independent caller. >> caller: hello. >> host: good morning. >> caller: i have seen you on
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different committees and that their respective. i really don't think that you guys, politicians are really hearing the american people. caller after caller has told you that they do not agree with this bill. now, it says that -- you say that the border is pretty much secure. >> guest: for the most part. >> caller: that is true, but on the other hand, if you set the senate bill you are going to double the amount of highly skilled vises and then start a new category for low-skilled workers. are you going to increase agricultural workers? it is sort of like a slight of hand as well as legalizing the 11 million people that are already here. believe me, i used to be a democrat and changed to independent. the american people, when they see the details of this bill,
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they are already against the bill and the first place. when they see the details there even more against it. let's go and do it piecemeal. it is too important. >> host: okay. >> guest: you really can't. i don't know if the american people agree or disagree. i'm not sure how many people are familiar with the details of the bill either. but secondly, you really cannot do it piecemeal because there are two very contending points of view. in order to pass the bill they have to be satisfied, and neither will pass the other. one says you have to shut the border at all costs and you have to have harsh penalties on people across the border and spend trillions of dollars defending the border and have employment verification. but don't provide a path for the undocumented people.
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the other view and the other party says we have to provide a path to citizenship. we will go along with you on a lot of what you want, but only if you go along with what we want. neither has the strength politically to pass any bill without the other. you're going to have to have a bill that does both in one form or another. stronger enforcement on the one hand and some sort of path to citizenship on the other. without doing both you cannot pass the bill. the people who want the citizenship are not going to say let's do the border and we will hope you do the citizenship later. and the others will see less to the citizenship and we hope he will do the border later. a comprehensive bill. >> host: we will leave it there. thank you for your time. >> saturdays in july c-span radio is airing recorded phone conversations of president nixon from camp david during the summer of 72 talking with the white house advisers about the presidential race against south dakota senator george mcgovern,
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the war in vietnam, and watergate. the nixon tapes saturday's 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span radio in washington d.c. ..
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address a variety of topics including electronic surveillance by the nsa e. the detention center at guantanamo bay cuba and the targeting conservative groups. if confirmed, she would replace robert miller who is the fbi director since 2001. vermont senator patrick leahy chairs the senate judiciary committee. >> i want everybody to be able to watch it comfortably. if anybody blocks the hearing that person will be removed. whether the demonstrations for or against for or against the imposition of senator grassley or any other senator might take are for or against a position that person will be removed. i t
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